Oct 31

My ultimate dream prize

As some of you may know, I received an invite to the 107.9 The Breeze $10000 dream prize party. I had a chance to win my choice of six different prizes worth ten grand. I didn’t win the prize, but I never really figured I would. I was just excited to meet the morning show crew that I listen to when I start my daily routine. Sure ten thousand bucks worth of groceries would have been a sweet bonus, but it was just nice to know I was going to put some faces to the names that I hear every day.

I listen to The Breeze every morning when I’m in the area (you can listen online), and I really like the Big Breakfast, featuring Jay Sharp, Joe Snider, Inga Belge and Megan Murphy. The personalities of the gang are very complimentary, and they completely make up for the repetitive music playlist. You know I love Rag Mama Rag a lot, but The Band has so many more, deserving songs that I feel could be played as well, and as much as I like Bruce Cockburn, I don’t feel we need to hear Tokyo, or Coldest Night of the Year, every single day. I have never even seen them in someone’s playlist or CD library before, so why do they garner so much air play. Anyhow, enough of my griping, I have been listening to them for a year and a half now, since I moved back from the west, and I have found them to be very interesting people from hearing their stories and on-air lives. That is why I was so excited to score this invitation to the party.

When I went in to pick up my invite from the beautiful, funny and, I assume, brilliant Kristy, I was pleasantly surprised when the one and only Jay Sharp walked out into the reception area. It was like meeting royalty for me, and I felt like I should give him some money or some baubles or something. I had received countless hours of free entertainment from this man, and I felt I should repay him in some small way. Then the thought came to me. Maybe I should hug him and cup his buttocks with my strong hands. I am embarrassed to say that I got too nervous and just stammered something that sounded like a leopard killing an antelope. There was one of my people to meet crossed off the list, now only three more to go.

How sexy is this man?

Fast forward to Sunday morning. We piled into the van, with three quarters of us nursing sore heads and bellies, and headed to Kawartha Downs for the party. I gotta say, calling it a party was a little misleading. We showed up with a cooler full of beer and rum, an ounce of weed, a hookah pipe, and two strippers that we picked up in Belleville. The security guards stopped us at the entrance, and promptly called the cops. (Apparently, the topless law in Ontario only applies to public property.) I voiced my opinion on the subject, and explained that I had an invitation, which I quickly produced for them. By now Joey had given the pot to the strippers, Chastity and Destiny were their names, and had set the pipe on the ground. You see, Joey’s no dummy when it comes to dodging the po po, so when the law came screaming up, Destiny got pinched, and they had an outstanding warrant for Chastity. Turns out they were lying to us, and their real names were Judy and Ted, so I didn’t feel too bad when they got hauled off, and I was thankful their shorts had stayed on. We put the cooler back in the van and went inside, only to find out that there wasn’t much happening in the way of a party. Joey pulled a couple of T-Dolls out of his pocket and handed me one. I crushed it up on the picnic table and snorted it, while a couple of ladies checked out the camper trailer right beside me.

Okay, maybe it was more like this: Joey, Mrs.Birdman, Khrissy and I waited in line for half an hour, went in to meet my idols, saw that they were busy and then went outside to let the sun hurt my brain. I got to meet Rob “The Rocket” Mitchell, and then we went back inside where the folks were setting things up, so I went over and introduced myself to Joseph P Snider. I was kind of hoping for a deeper voiced, Les Nessman, but was presented with one hell of a strapping fellow. The sheer power of the man’s handshake was emotionally crippling, and his rapt gaze pierced my very being to the core. I had to pull myself away as I felt him extracting tiny, but very important bits of my tender soul. I then turned my attention to the beautiful, angelic face of Megan P Murphy, and found my faith in humanity slowly being restored. I envisioned African children, having their bellies filled by her aura, and dictators freeing their citizens from tyranny. I wanted to hug her more than I’ve ever wanted anything, but alas, Mrs. Birdman beat me to it. I was saddened to hear that Inga B. was not attending the event, because I wanted to commend her for her bravery, working in such close quarters with these formidable specimens of humankind. I also got to see Jay Sharp again, but not for very long. I felt him making me wish I was gay, and then he broke the connection to get something ready with the production.

Ethereal beauty, personified

Don't look into his eyes

I did not win the $10000 dream prize, but I walked away with a new respect for people who work in radio. I also got to see some wonderful sets of breasts, hold hands with the love of my life, meet some of my morning heroes and see two people win a prize that made them so happy that I didn’t care whether I won a million dollars. I left that place with a huge smile on my hungover face, a beautiful woman on my arm, and a mission to try for a job at The Breeze when I get back in the spring.

I hate graveyards and old pawn shops,

Birdman

P.S. Jay Sharp smelled like charisma and Puritan Irish Stew, two of my favorite things.

Oct 30

Of meetings, good food and better friends

Well, I’m not in fine writing form this morning, but I thought I would let you all know that if Gadget says he needs to see you in his office downstairs for a meeting, DO NOT GO. It’s a trap, and not a very clever one either. I’m a little fuzzy on details, but I think I was molested by Cleopatra, a breathalyzer, Inspector Gadget and Penny. I ate a lot of delicious treats, and I think we finally got rid of all traces of Sour Puss and Tequila Rose from the basement office.We also want to thank Lucille Ball and the surgical team for making sure we were transported safely to and from the party. You guys rock our world.

I hope that the freaky McDonald’s clown is able to stop by the house and check in on Mrs. Birdman while I’m gone, because she might need someone to do some odd jobs around the house, and clowns seem to be pretty handy with that type of thing. I am glad to have so many good friends and neighbours that take the time to invite us to events and make us feel welcome wherever we go. We truly know how lucky we are, because it’s pretty rare to enjoy everybody’s company when you go out. Most parties you go to, there’s always the assholes that everyone sidesteps and avoid like the plague. I have actually locked myself in the can with a six pack before, because it’s more exciting than talking to some people, but not with the friends we have. I do believe every last one of them is interesting and funny, but I’m also drunk when I’m around these magnificent folk, so take that with a grain of salt.

Hey, remember that time I did a Jello shot with the gummi worm and almost choked to death? That was last night. The sad thing is, I forgot about it, and twenty minutes later was choking down another one. Jesus, I’m damn near forty years old, why the hell am I acting like a teenager? I thought I had grown out of the shooter phase many moons ago. I guess it’s the crowd, because when I get around this bunch, I feel like partying like a not very well hung porn star. It’s pretty nice to be around people that make you feel at ease enough to get that hammered, you just don’t have to worry about shit.

So thank you all, and I say that from my old lady, my best man, and my own self, for the fun-filled night and for the friendship. It’s never taken for granted. We have to go now. I got an invite to the $10000 dream prize party, and I need to wash the blood off my hands.

You can’t rollerskate in a buffalo herd,

Birdman

Oct 28

Friends

I was thinking about that today while reading a message from an American friend that I’ve never met. Weird huh? I’ve never met Seth, but I still consider him my friend. I know we’ve talked a lot and bugged each other about who lives in the better country (it’s me), but I’ve never shook his hand, or sat down to a fridge full of beer with him. I’m going to invite him to my wedding, if he’s able to come, but then I wonder if that’s crazy too. I guess we’ll find out next summer, along with Dennis and Scott. I met both of them at work and I’ve gotten so that I go to the board in the morning to see if I get to go there for a pickup. I don’t know if it’s a familiarity thing, but I’ve grown to like the assholes. Okay, I guess I like them because they’re good guys, and maybe just a little bit sexy.

I then started thinking about a lot of my friends, and how we became friends. There are some crazy stories, with fighting, booze, and other illicit substances at the forefront of most of them. There are also a lot of stories that I don’t remember the beginning to. I wonder if any of you remember how you met me, or did I just show up and not leave? Some of my really good friends have no recollection of how we met, but some remember every detail like it was yesterday.

I remember how I met my best man, and best male friend, Joe. He was sitting in my seat on the school bus, because I was a hoodlum and had to sit directly behind the bus driver. It was his first day of school after moving here from Florida and it was grade seven. It turned out that he didn’t know anyone, and I lived close, so we became friends. We’ve done a pile of crazy shit together, and if the fun police would leave us to our ways, we’d probably do a pile more. We drifted apart while he was living out west, and then while I was, but there was never a time that I wouldn’t have done what I could to help him out, and I guess he probably feels the same way, but I’ve never asked.

He’s also the guy I’d trust the most with my best interests. I know that’s a strange term, but how else do you sum up: car, pets, plans of evil, money, guns, horses, dead hookers, rides to the airport, fake passports, family and my life into two words? I don’t think I can trust him, I know I can. Over the past twenty eight years he’s proven he is loyal friend, not only to me, but to others as well. I’m still trying to get info out of him from shit that happened in high school.

He has a true heart and a mischievous soul, so it’s only right that we ended up as homies. It’s also pretty handy that my sweet baby likes him too, but I guess that we have very similar personalities, so we should like the same type of people. I know that I like her friends. The ones I’ve met so far, anyways.

Back to my pal Joey now. He also loves his mom, but why wouldn’t he? She’s one of the sweetest and funniest ladies I know, and believe you me, I know a few. He has two, slightly hyper, but extremely sweet dogs, that he takes very good care of. He plans his days and evenings around them, and that’s how it should be.

One story that I do remember is when Joe, Steve and I were out in Cold Beer. Steve is Joe’s cousin, another friend that you’ll hear about later, and Cold Beer was a rowboat that someone else owned. The three of us grabbed a bunch of bottle rockets, a steel tube, a lighter and a bailing bucket, and set off to sea. We thought we’d try fishing with the bottle rockets, because they would shoot under water and explode like a mini depth charge. We got out onto the lake, and while Steve was getting the tube ready, I was getting ready to stuff a rocket in and light it. I could hear a hissing, and giggling, and when I turned to look, Joey had lit the whole bouquet of fireworks that I was holding in my hand. I threw them up in the air, not thinking that now they can fly around all willy-nilly, and they did. I started to freak out and tried to fight Joey, Steve was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, and Joe was laughing his ass off, yelling for me to “Chill, just chill”. Being from the sticks, I hadn’t heard the term “chill” before and started yelling back, “What the fuck does chill mean? We had a grand laugh, and no one lost the meat off their hand. Yet.

I guess I will sum it all up by saying that I have some really amazing friends, that I’ve accumulated over the course of my life, but Joey, you are the one I come to when the chips are down and I need to vent. You never judge me, and you always know the ways to cheer me up. (Yes one does involve guzzling a gallon of milk.) I will be proud to have you stand next to me as I get married to my best friend, and even prouder to have you choose the strippers and blow for the bachelor party. We all know that you have excellent taste in stripper flesh, and you drive a hard bargain. Cheers to you buddy, I am forever at your service.

Now back to Mrs. Birdman’s friends. Some were mutual friends, but many I hadn’t met yet. I honestly can’t think of one that I don’t like, and there are some that I just adore. There’s one lovely lady in particular, that works at a place where we pick up, and I now go in and visit whenever I’m there. Well, as long as it’s after 9:30. It’s a pretty sweet deal when you can double your friend base and also reconnect with lots of old friends that you hadn’t talked to for years. It’s also nice to have all kinds of sexy ladies stopping by for visits and whatnot. Yeah, I wish whatnot meant threesomes too, but alas, I shall have to keep dreaming. I figure that I’ve been a good person, so karma should take care of the threesome thing later, right? Seriously, before senility sets in would be nice.

Imma get get get get you drunk,

Birdman

 

Oct 26

My other dad

As I write this, the man who raised me as a son since I was eight is on his way to the hospital. He hasn’t been able to swallow food or water for days now, and if something isn’t done soon, it can’t get any better. He doesn’t want us kids there right now, maybe he doesn’t want to inconvenience us, but it’s probably because he doesn’t want us to see what the cancer has reduced him to. I don’t think he understands that we don’t care about that.

You see, he grew up in a time when men were judged by their physical, mental and emotional strength, and you didn’t want anyone to ever see you in a lesser state. I’m so glad I don’t have to follow any of those rules, or I’d be failing miserably as a man. If I can’t go out fast, while stopping a stray bullet from hitting an innocent bystander in a driveby, I want all the people I love to be around me.

Long before the second bout, but after the first. Mom loves cameras

Since he was first diagnosed with esophageal cancer, some ten years ago, he was given months to live. He was pretty down about it, and had kind of lost that fire he had always had. That was until he went to Kingston. While he was at the cancer centre there, he got talking to a lot of survivors, and they all had one thing in common. They were fighters. They weren’t going to let it beat them. They wanted to live, and were going to do what it took to stay above ground. Continue reading

Oct 04

Still no God

Before you start, you should read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this.

I’m going to start up where I left off last time, with me crawling back up the river to find a place to light. When I got myself to a flat enough spot on the shore, I thought maybe I’d have a little nap and get some much needed rest. I thought that was the most important thing at the time. Just a few minutes is all I’d need, and then I could worry about finding Aaron and getting our asses out of there. In Hudson’s Hope, the river is about ninety feet or so below the town, and the cliffs where we were are unclimbable. As I started to doze off, I heard yelling and whistling. Oh right, I was just with someone in the river. A few more yells and whistles, oh right, it was Aaron. I came out of my stupor, and started clambering towards the voice. It was starting to get dark by now, and the temperature was beginning to dip, but I saw him trying to find a spot to climb up the face and I tried a yell, but my voice wasn’t working very well. I was finally successful in getting his attention, as I got a bit closer and there was much rejoicing. I guess Aaron had watched me going down the river and figured I was dead already, so when I showed up there may or may notĀ  have been hugging, I’m not at liberty to say.

We had lost our cell phones, wallets and keys, not to mention the matches, when the tube fell out of the canoe, so we had no fire and I was losing body temperature pretty quick. I had also lost my new glasses, but I wasn’t too worried about driving right then. Aaron hadn’t been in as long as I had, and he seemed to be in better shape. He was whistling and hollering up the cliff, but we didn’t know if anyone in the houses would be able to hear us over the roar of the water. My kidneys were starting to hurt pretty bad from the cold and being bashed around on the rocks and I got Aaron to rub them really fast to warm them up. I don’t know if it made any difference physically, but mentally I could feel warmth from the friction making it’s way through me. We were hoping Lannie had missed us by now and had called someone, but we had been known for dawdling before, so we weren’t counting on it yet. We started planning to wait it out until morning, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make the night at that temperature. I think I was hyperventilating, or something that was making me breathe very rapidly, and because of that my mouth and throat were getting really dry. I kept going to the shore and drinking out of the river to try and wet my whistle, but I would just puke it back up. I didn’t mind, because at least there was moisture in there.

By now it was really dark, and I was getting worried and just wanted to lay down, but Aaron was able to keep his wits about him enough to hear a boat in the dark. I couldn’t hear anything but blood pounding in my ears and him whistling. I’ve never been so glad to be with a person who whistled so loud in my life, because all of a sudden he saw a light on the water where he had heard the boat downstream, and when he whistled again, their spotlight started searching in our direction. He yelled to me to get up and wave my brightly coloured life jacket in the air, and I happily obliged. They came a bit closer and killed the engine, and Aaron let out another high-pitched tweet. The spotlight hit us that time and the engine fired back up and started heading towards us. I have to admit that I could never see the appeal of riverboats, but after that night I had a new found love for any craft that can run through rapids, sandbars and rocks, and not sink. When the boat thrust up onto the shore with the two RCMP officers in the bow, and my new boss driving, I almost cried, I was so happy. I may have really cried, I don’t know. I do know I hugged Rich Brown and the constables for saving us, and Rich gave me his survival coat to keep me as warm as possible as well as the welding tube full of our things that they had found on their way up. I felt like I should have went out and got a girl pregnant, just to give them my first born, that’s how happy I was.

It turns out that the people that were having a fire at the landing, saw the canoe go by upside down, and called 911. While the police were rounding up Rich and his boat, and making their way to us, one of the folks at the top of the cliff had called in to say he thought there was someone trapped below his house. I am forever indebted to those people, because I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them. We were taken back to the landing where the fire was still going, and I stayed by the fire until the ambulance got there moments later. We went back to Aaron’s after the paramedics got us fixed up and his wife and son were more than a little happy to see him, as he was elated to see them.I had a hot bath and put on some dry clothes, but I was still having troubles with my lungs, so I ended up getting taken in to Fort St. John hospital and got something called a nebulizer to dry the water and crap out of my lungs. I guess my kidneys took a bit of a beating as well, but they were still working fine and I was alive, so what more could you ask for?

I was going to go looking for the canoe the next day, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t have it in me. Aaron said that if I got the canoe back, he was going to buy it off of me and burn it. I think he probably would have, but I wouldn’t have charged him for it. I went out with my friend Randy, who is a very experienced canoodler, to get back in and try it again the next week. We did it, and I’m glad I did, but I have to admit I was pretty shaky until I found out that you can go across the river and the rapids are minimal there. Hindsight, eh? Ah well, what’s done is done, and there’s no point in analyzing it to death. Where we went through was bad, but it wasn’t treacherous. We were ill prepared, and uninformed. We shouldn’t have gone in there without knowing what lay ahead of us, and we should have had our life jackets on, instead of laying in the canoe. I don’t think either of us will make that mistake again, and I hope you never do either.

I think it’s safe to say that the experience that day changed our lives. I still don’t believe in God though, but think Aaron might have gained a bit of faith.I know he quit smoking because it was one more thing that might prevent him from spending every possible moment with his family. I imagine he’s a lot more careful around water too. I know my outlook changed drastically. I no longer waste time on stupid shit, and I try to enjoy every moment I can, because you never know when it might be your last. This weekend at Thanksgiving, I think I’ll raise my glass to my pal Aaron, and give thanks that I had him with me that day. I can’t think of too many people I’d rather have in my corner when the chips are down, so here’s to you my friend. I credit you, most of all for us surviving that day.

What Aaron was fighting for

Aaron and his oldest boy

Make sure you look after each other,

Birdman